Monday, August 23, 2010

You can help elect 5 more champions for equality and justice

We're only 23 days from the New York Primary Election -- just over three weeks away -- when voters could be deciding the fate of our rights for years to come. We're keeping the ball rolling here at the Pride Agenda and are thrilled to release our latest round of endorsements passed by the Pride Agenda's Political Action Committee (PAC). Will you help us tip the balance of the Senate and hold onto a supportive, pro-LGBT Assembly?

Make a contribution of $60 to Pride Agenda PAC -- one dollar for each pro-equality candidate we've endorse so far. Or make a contribution of $23 for each day left until polls open.

Volunteer your time on key races that will really make a difference. If you've never volunteered on a campaign before, now's your chance to take the fight for equality into your own hands and meet others who want to make a difference in New York.

If elected, the following candidates will help us continue fighting for our legislative priorities, such as the freedom to marry and the most basic of civil rights protections for transgender New Yorkers:

New York State Senate
Primary Election --

SD 31 (Upper Manhattan and Bronx) -- Adriano Espaillat (D), Open
SD 18 (Brooklyn) -- Velmanette Montgomery (D), Incumbent

General Election --
SD 22 (Brooklyn) -- Michael DiSanto (D), Challenger
SD 38 (Orange and Rockland Counties) -- David Carlucci (D), Open

New York State Assembly
General Election --
AD 1 (Suffolk County) -- Fred Thiele (I), Incumbent

Check out our online Election Center for a full list of endorsements, and stay tuned for our upcoming 2010 Election Guide, that we urge you to share with everyone in your life who supports full equality and justice.

In a time with some frustrating delays in our movement, from the federal courts to the halls of Congress, we know that we can make change happen in New York right NOW. We know we can count on you to be a part of that change. Contribute to our PAC or volunteer in a key race today. Let's build LGBT power in Albany together.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New no-fault divorce law applicable to same-sex couples

With Governor Paterson’s signature on August 14, New York became the last state to allow no fault divorce. Blogger and legal expert Arthur Leonard points out that this law will also apply to legally married same-sex couples who reside in New York, in line with the state’s policy of recognizing marriages performed out of state. In a memo accompanying the bill, the authors make it explicitly clear that the law is to apply to all couples equally.

Everyone deserves equality before the law, and that includes the responsibilities that come with marriage, in good times and in bad.

Friday Sweep

Recently Pride Agenda's executive director, Ross Levi, and director of governmental projects and community development, Jonathan Lang, joined other representatives from LGBT groups across the country for a briefing on the Administration's efforts to improve the way our federal government serves LGBT people, including in New York.

The U.S. Department of Justice, for one, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of a northern New York student's anti-gay bias discrimination case.

The Troy Record gives space for a response to a downright offensive opinion piece published recently attacking both marriage equality and lesbians and gays as people.

The Western New York Stonewall Democrats have joined the Pride Agenda and other pro-LGBT groups to endorse Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General. On August 30, we'll be hosting a community dialogue in Buffalo. Join us!

The Los Angeles Times and GLAAD criticize "Dr Laura," who used the N-word on the air and called being gay a "biological error," for falsely claiming her 1st Amendment rights were violated: "The 1st Amendment is just fine: Schlessinger exercised her right to use a racial slur; offended listeners exercised their right to criticize her for it."

And recently the American Bar Association joined the New York State Bar Association to come out in support of the freedom to marry.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photos from OffSprung's Fire Island Pines weekend

We had a blast at the Beach Ball and Low Tea last Saturday. Hope to see you next year!

Pride Agenda flags flew high above the harbor as OffSprung co-hosted a packed Low Tea with the Blue Whale.

OffSprung members, new and returning, escaped the heat in the pool and at the beach.

Donnie made a friend with Mary on the ferry, on her way to visit her son in the Pines. She even agreed to let us give her a Pride Agenda tattoo!

Check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook page, and share your own.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Join OffSprung this weekend in Fire Island Pines

We wanted to share two great events happening this Saturday, August 7 in Fire Island Pines, hosted by OffSprung, our group of supporters who aim to engage the next generation of LGBT leaders and straight allies in advocacy, networking and volunteerism.

First there's the Beach Ball, a pool party for current and new members of the GEM (Give Every Month) program who have committed to supporting the work of the Pride Agenda on a monthly basis. There's still spots left if you register right now.

Then right afterwards, we're pleased to announce today the return of the Low Tea at the Blue Whale.

OffSprung members will be at the entrance accepting donations in support of our important work leading into the 2010 election season. In addition, the Blue Whale will contribute $1 to the Pride Agenda from each signature Blue Whale cocktail sold.

Pride Agenda flags will once again fly high above the Pines harbor over the weekend!

Pride Agenda hails historic decision striking down Prop. 8

We are emboldened by the recent victory on marriage equality in California and in the federal justice system. Proposition 8 was a cruel and unconstitutional attack on LGBT families, and we are very pleased that the court has understood the need for all loving, committed couples to have the protections they need to care for each other and their children.

But we know that this struggle is far closer to home. Our movement is not only about lawyers in a far away courtroom; it's about everyday New Yorkers who support the freedom to marry and are willing to fight until we achieve it. The victory in California provides continued momentum here in New York that will allow the Pride Agenda and our community to continue pushing equality and justice on all fronts and with every tool at our disposal. That includes an intense focus on the upcoming 2010 New York elections that will determine for the next few years how quickly we can accomplish progress in the New York State government on issues like marriage equality and basic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people. The LGBT community and our allies will be making our voices heard loudly through this election season.

The freedom to marry in New York State starts with you. Please, make a donation to our PAC or sign up to volunteer on these crucial, upcoming races.

Our choice for attorney general - a staunch advocate for equality and justice

Eric Schneiderman has been a tireless advocate for the rights of LGBT New Yorkers and our families and we couldn't be more thrilled to endorse his candidacy for attorney general today.

During his tenure in the State Senate, he has always been there for us, going above and beyond voting for our rights: advocating for us in his district, marshalling pro-LGBT votes from his colleagues and leading floor debates on marriage equality. He is exactly what we need in a statewide elected official.

Eric Schneiderman voted to pass the Hate Crimes Bill and the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). As a lead sponsor of the Dignity for All Students Act, which passed the Senate on June 22 with a bipartisan 58-3 vote, Schneiderman helped create legal protections for public school students from harassment and bullying, marking the first time that protections based on gender identity and expression would be included in state law. He is a cosponsor of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would ensure that all transgender New Yorkers are free from discrimination.

At the Pride Agenda, we know it takes more than passing laws to secure equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families. We need an attorney general we can rely on to make sure those laws are carried out and that statewide policies and standards are in place to protect the entire state, including LGBT people. Schneiderman is that candidate.

From fighting for marriage equality to ending bullying in schools to cracking down on big pharmaceutical corporations that are cheating New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, Schneiderman will be an attorney general who never backs down in the pursuit of justice. He has promised to vigorously enforce every statute that protects the rights of the LGBT community and be a steadfast ally every step of the way.

Please get involved in the campaign to elect this reliable and visionary leader. Invest in New York's future and make a donation to our PAC or sign up to volunteer on this critical race.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pride Agenda announces second round of endorsements in 2010 Elections

A couple weeks ago, we let you know how excited we were to move into election season so we could work to re-elect legislators who have stood by our side and elect new ones who we can be certain will bring about real change in Albany.

Now, our work continues to make change happen.

Today, the Pride Agenda announced another round of endorsements for the 2010 Primary and General Elections, including a number of candidates who are challenging Senators who have voted against the interests of New York’s LGBT community. That brings our total number of endorsed candidates so far to 54 - all of them strong advocates in the New York State Legislature for issues at the top of the Pride Agenda’s public policy agenda, or candidates who have pledged their support on such issues including marriage equality for same-sex couples, ending legal discrimination against transgender New Yorkers and increasing funding for LGBT health and human services providers.

This election is a crucial step toward accomplishing our community’s governmental priorities. We have only endorsed candidates who already are or will be unabashed legislative allies and have demonstrated and/or expressed their support for LGBT equality and justice with complete clarity. Click here to see our latest round of endorsements.

But we know we can’t win unless we keep supporters of LGBT equality and justice updated and involved. Throughout this election season, we’ll be in contact about some of the most important races we’re focusing on this year and presenting our plans about how we can succeed in increasing the ranks of pro-LGBT state legislators. We’ll also be in touch shortly with further endorsements, including statewide races.

We hope you’re as ready as we are to get to work, and that these endorsements inspire you to visit our online Election Center and make a donation to our PAC so we can make sure these crucial races have the resources they need, or sign up to volunteer on one of these campaigns. We look forward to keeping you updated and involved!